Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 102, Issue 2, pp 169–191 | Cite as

The Collapse of a European Bank in the Financial Crisis: An Analysis from Stakeholder and Ethical Perspectives



Fortis, the leading Benelux financial group, had been a success story of successive mergers of bank and insurance companies, with leadership in corporate social responsibility (CSR). One year after the acquisition of the major Dutch financial conglomerate ABN AMRO, the global financial crisis caused the collapse of the Fortis group. The purpose of this article is to use the case study of Fortis’s recent fall as a basis for reflective considerations on the financial crisis, from stakeholder and ethical perspectives. A selected number of key events of the history of the dramatic crisis at Fortis will be analysed from different ethical frameworks. Special consideration will be given to fairness of communication, shareholder activism and conflicts of interests of CEO’s mergers opportunities. A confrontation between the CSR policy and the reality raises the fundamental questions why the powerful CSR guidelines and ethical principles did not help in the assessment of the risks.


CSR stakeholder business ethics bank financial crisis collapse shareholder activism CEO acquisition 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management, Innovation and EntrepreneurshipGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Vlerick Leuven Gent Management SchoolGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Department of MarketingGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Green Templeton CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordU.K.
  5. 5.Oxford Martin School, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS)University of OxfordOxfordU.K.

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